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Susceptibility of Trees to Windthrow Storm Damage in Partially Harvested Complex-Structured Multi-Species Forests

1
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Skeena Region, Bag 6000, Smithers, BC V0J 2N0, Canada
2
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Box AB, Millbrook, NY 12545, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(4), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040199
Received: 23 March 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

In Canada and elsewhere, logging practices in natural-origin forests have shifted toward retention systems where variable levels of mature trees are retained post-logging to promote a diversity of values. We examine multiple sites that experienced a wide range of prior harvest regimes (0–76% basal area removal) to evaluate how harvest intensity and proximity to a logging-created edge affects susceptibility to windthrow for a suite of tree species in complex-structured mature and old-growth mixed-species stand types in British Columbia. We found no increased susceptibility to windthrow as a function of the level of partial harvesting. We observed a reduced susceptibility to windthrow of smaller trees after partial harvesting. There were clear differences in susceptibility to windthrow among different tree species close to the edge of gaps and small openings (<1 ha in size) created by partial harvesting. Hemlock and redcedar, the two most common trees species, were unaffected by edge environments, whereas the less common conifers and deciduous species were more susceptible to windthrow along partial harvest edges. This suggests tree-marking guidelines should remove the species most prone to windthrow from edges around small openings in these forest types. Our study and others suggest use of retention systems in structurally diverse, multi-species forests does not lead to elevated risk of windthrow, especially if retention levels exceed 20–30%. View Full-Text
Keywords: windthrow; partial harvesting; forest dynamics; forest edge; British Columbia windthrow; partial harvesting; forest dynamics; forest edge; British Columbia
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Coates, K.D.; Hall, E.C.; Canham, C.D. Susceptibility of Trees to Windthrow Storm Damage in Partially Harvested Complex-Structured Multi-Species Forests. Forests 2018, 9, 199.

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